How much money is WeHo making and spending?

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It’s mind-blowing to think about the amount of money that flows in and out of West Hollywood. 

In fiscal year 2022, the city brought in $135,000,000 and spent only $113,000,000 — an intentionally lean year of expenditures that helped restore the city’s reserves, now at $155 million, back to their pre-pandemic levels.

At Thursday, Finance & Budget Subcommittee, Mayor Sepi Shyne and Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson tried to capitalize on the good news.

“So we’re not seeing any negative impacts of the hotel worker ordinance or the minimum wage increase?” Erickson asked City Manager David Wilson.

“It’s hard to say,” Wilson replied, noting that the city doesn’t know the expenses private businesses incurred.

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This year’s revenues are already exceeding expectations, and City Hall appears ready to go shopping, with an estimated $139.6 million in budgeted expenses by the end of the fiscal year.

Where does that money come from?
Revenue Source Percentage
Sales Tax 26%
Transient Occupancy Tax 22%
Property Tax 18%
Other Taxes 10%
All Other Revenues 09%
Parking Fines 05%
Parking Meters 05%
City Permits 04%

Most of it comes from sales tax (26%), then from taxes on hotel stays (22%), followed by property taxes (18%). 

The city is making bank from parking meters, permits and penalty fees, which brought it in almost $14 million in fiscal year 2022. That’s a whopping 10 percent of WeHo’s budget — the average American city only generates 3% of its revenue from that source, according to National League of Cities.

And where is this money going?
Expenditure Category Percentage
Personnel 34%
Public Safety Contracts 22%
Other Contract Services 21%
Operating Costs 08%
Financing Uses 07%
Social Services Contracts 05%
Capital Projects 03%

More than one-third of it is spent on personnel for the city. 

The city’s FY23-24 Operating Budget says:

Personnel costs are the City’s single largest operating expenditure, accounting for approximately 37% of General Fund operating expenditures in the FY23 budget. The compound annual growth for personnel costs from FY19 to FY24 is 6% and includes the addition of 19 new staff members over the same period.

20% goes to public safety contracts, including the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, L.A. Fire Department and the Block by Block security ambassador program. 

The “wealth” of social services touted by city leaders only gets 5%. Operating costs come in at 8%, “financing uses” 7% and a mere 3% goes to capital projects — roads, parks, etc. 

The conspicuously vague “Other Contract Services” gets 22% — this year, that’s looking like more than $30 million.

Other points of interest:

  • Cost-of-living increases bumped expenditures across the board, some as high as 7.6%.
  • It looks like the Sunset Strip will be getting security ambassadors, according to Mayor Pro Tem John Erickson. Block by Block’s budget increased by $2 million to staff the positions City Council requested.

 
Name FY2020 Actual FY2021 Actual FY2022 Budgeted FY2023 Budgeted FY2024 Budgeted
Legislative & Executive Department $5,824,223 $6,682,356 $6,722,967 $5,021,204 $4,865,556
Administrative Services Department $10,489,160 $4,466,329 $4,498,298 $7,956,998 $8,001,740
Finance & Technology Services Department $16,972,602 $12,008,397 $16,560,997 $17,993,522 $18,532,566
Public Safety Department $25,328,892 $23,603,849 $23,816,077 $27,669,644 $28,079,803
Human Services & Rent Stabilization Dept $10,768,988 $11,356,880 $10,621,524 $13,007,299 $15,109,377
Facilities & Recreation Services Dept $15,958,061 $13,908,198 $19,022,884 $23,463,239 $24,193,534
Planning & Development Services Dept $8,967,512 $7,180,729 $8,506,216 $9,163,390 $9,059,142
Public Works Department $10,129,689 $9,475,704 $10,147,596 $11,652,197 $12,260,891
Communications Department $3,380,130 $3,491,779 $4,073,112 $4,315,281 $5,124,447
Economic Development Department $2,284,932 $1,366,051 $1,510,977 $3,351,815 $3,511,432
Development Impacts $1,146,521 $1,718,711 $2,096,365 $1,713,576 $1,762,555
Community Services $3,997,449 $2,812,923 $3,322,834 $4,936,256 $5,124,678
Total Expenditures: $115,248,159 $98,071,906 $110,899,847 $130,244,420 $135,625,721

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Rose
Rose
11 months ago

No impacts. The world’s gayest Starbucks Closed to make an example of WeHo.
BTW – don’t drink coffee and never been in our now gone or any other Starbucks

Randy
Randy
11 months ago

I think it is important to note, that TOT, and sales tax, which is 48% of the City’s revenue, is largely paid by people who don’t live here. People who visit the city, stay in the city in its hotels, or come to the city on weekends and visit the nightlife and restaurants. Residents benefit from this. It doesn’t all just go to salaries for City employees. Yet, many residents want to micromanage how the City spends its money, even when it benefits residents.

Brad
Brad
11 months ago

It’s time to lower the city’s sales tax by 0.75%.

We raised that tax when city revenue dropped earlier in the pandemic.

But there’s no reason to keep paying that higher sales tax. Cut that tax and force the city to live on a budget.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
11 months ago
Reply to  Brad

It’s a great idea, but if WeHo lowers the sales tax rate, the County can and WILL grab the 0.75% for its coffers. We should have demanded a referendum on the increase and restricted its use. Too much money in unrestricted general funds in the hands of an inexperienced council members is no bueno.

Larry Block
Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

this is true, thats what we are told, but has not happened in the ‘other cities’

Brad
Brad
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Good point.

We should look at the language that the city of Beverly Hills used on this issue around the time WeHo raised its sales tax during the pandemic.

Beverly Hills decided it would raise its sales tax by the maximum allowed increase of 0.75%–but ONLY if the county tried to raise county sales tax by 0.75%. Smart strategic move by Beverly Hills to hedge against a money grab by the county.

https://beverlypress.com/2020/08/beverly-hills-to-put-sales-tax-increase-to-voters/

Pop & Pop landlords
Pop & Pop landlords
11 months ago

So the City of West Hollywood acknowledges that the cost-of-living has increased as much as 7.6%, and adjusts their budgets and salaries accordingly–yet they limit rent increases to only 3%. It makes no sense, property maintenance, mortgages, and costs have also increased 7.6%! The former rent increases based on CPI was more fair and equitable for everyone involved.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
11 months ago

The dirty little secret is most of that impressive sales tax money, is tax on the City being pushers of alcohol sales. When the drunks the city makes ruin their lives, whether here or elsewhere, weho doesn’t have to be burdened with those costs. Our City Council pushes them to ruin their lives with excessive drinking, and they pretend it doesn’t happen. Thank you City Council, for pushing so many thousands to ruin their lives, so we can get some more sales tax money to give away free stuff to freeloaders. What a model forumula they have figured out.

angry gay pope
11 months ago

With weho’s onerous parking tix I’m amazed that money is only 10% of the take!

Shane
Shane
11 months ago

Can we talk about the AI generated image with this article rather than an actual photo of a west Hollywood street corner? Lol

angry gay pope
11 months ago
Reply to  Shane

Yeah the gibberish on the signs gives it away!

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
11 months ago

Erickson’s intellectually lazy leading questions reveal an inability to articulate a rational and cohesive commentary. In a legal environment, they would find objection and sustainment every time.

JF1
JF1
11 months ago

Happy to hear we’re so flushed with cash…now can we hire more police, increase sidewalk cleaning, Thank you.

Jill Freesen
Jill Freesen
11 months ago
Reply to  JF1

Walk through town. Looks like a 3rd world run down place.

voter
voter
11 months ago

John Erickson is too invested in rewarding his friends and colleagues at City Hall with undeservedly high salaries and pensions.

His type of unethical wheeling and dealing has no place in government and hurts residents and taxpayers.

Horrifying
Horrifying
11 months ago
Reply to  voter

John Erickson is also w Planned Parenthood where anyone can walk in, self diagnose and get a prescription for surgery to begin their transition. It’s as simple as ordering a coke. Horrifying. Will Erickson & Shyne soon become interchangeable in a manner of speaking? Anything for press coverage.

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
11 months ago
Reply to  Horrifying

Hmmm….thank you for educating us with this information about Planned Parenthood. About that “self diagnosis and free prescription for transitions surgery”, can that happen same day? Please let us know how this works.

Horrifying
Horrifying
11 months ago

Don’t have the particulars, you might want to call them.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
11 months ago
Reply to  Horrifying

Whatever your personal issues are with John Erickson, Planned Parenthood has done great work for communities across the country for years. For many, it is the last refuge for care.

Horrifying
Horrifying
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Planned Parenthood has its place, don’t agree with all its policies but they are being used by Erickson. An endless cycle, not particularly an ethical one.

Horrifying
Horrifying
11 months ago
Reply to  Horrifying

Degrees in Women’s Studies, American Religious History, Queer Studies in Religion……..Where does it state that this individual is competent in Budget Affairs? A smart mouth about public affairs strategies does not qualify one for these decisions. Look past the talk folks and focus on the substance. This is who we elected because we were impressed by his titles.

Horrifying
Horrifying
11 months ago
Reply to  Horrifying

Estimated total pay package for Director at Planned Parenthood $172,000./year. By the way, they only hire activists as indicated by them .Entrenched bureaucracy everywhere you turn.

Bossy Bottom’s Favorite Constituent
Bossy Bottom’s Favorite Constituent
11 months ago
Reply to  Horrifying

…he makes that much annually, on top of his kick backs on CC, and he still looks a dysphoric refrigerator with legs?

:dpb
:dpb
11 months ago

Time to start shopping for additional Sheriff Deputies. Get this city safe to do business in again and restore resident confidence when walking down the street.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
11 months ago

Over the years West Hollywood has seen a huge increase in money spend on infrastructure, which is generally a good thing as we can see where and how our taxes are spent. But the other area of growth in at City Hall. The City’s organizational chart is top heavy on management and our generous compensation will continue to fuel a rising debt for pensions. While costs of the Sheriff are not cheap, public safety should not be shortchanged when we are dependent upon visitors feeling safe when the come to support our local businesses. Having a budget committee of our… Read more »

CHLOE ROSS
CHLOE ROSS
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Thank you Steve for this comment.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I’m not sure how you are defining infrastructure, but my definition includes things you can really see that weren’t there before. Like widening of streets, building a subway station, adding high speed bus lanes. Maybe you can include a handful of parking structures and fixing up the parks a bit. Honestly, the city has hardly anything to show for infrastructure improvements. I don’t see any new airport, highways, tunnels, bridges etc. The city spends huge amounts of money to reward many employees we really don’t need, basically so the freeloaders will continue to vote for the worthless Sepis of the… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
11 months ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

Not to be argumentative, but in a relatively short period of twenty years since we finally started focusing on infrastructure we would have had flooding this last winter if it were not for the huge new sewer lines installed when we re-structured Santa Monica Blvd.; indeed once that project was completed hundreds of homeowners got to stop paying for extra-flood control insurance saving most about $800 to a thousand a year. We have a really nice library and people love the pool and the new dog park in West Hollywood Park. We replaced and expanded a tiny fire station on… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Martin
Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I agree that the city made significant strides in its first 36 years, however, there is a very real sense throughout the city that we are in a slide and that slide started two years ago. We no longer have visionaries on council, we have inept egotists who tinker with our safety, among other things.

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